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is cbd oil covered by insurance

And without FDA approval, insurance companies won’t approve of CBD, either. When the public relations manager of Humana, one of the country’s five largest insurers, told VICE why the company did not insure medical marijuana, he could just as easily have been talking about CBD. “As of right now, there is no FDA-approved marijuana product, and we therefore do not currently offer a prescription drug benefit for medical marijuana,” he said. “If there were to be an FDA-approved medical marijuana product in the future, it may be covered depending upon the terms of the individual member’s drug coverage.”

Though most people know that no health insurance plan will cover medical marijuana, many still have questions on whether such plans might cover CBD oil and CBD products. They don’t induce a high, after all, and since the federal government legalized hemp-derived CBD in the 2018 Farm Bill, it seems counter-intuitive to most that health insurance companies would be averse to a product that is both legal and wildly popular.

So, is CBD oil (of any kind) covered by insurance companies (of any type) in the United States? Across the board, the answer is no, another ramification of the uneven progress of American cannabis reform.

Why Health Insurance Doesn’t Cover CBD Oil

However, elsewhere in the paper, CBD users are given the possibility of an alternative: “The Agency is committed to science-based decision making when it comes to CBD, while also taking steps to consider if there are appropriate regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of CBD, outside of the drug setting.”

One of the main challenges that prevents CBD from being covered under insurance policies is the hostility of powerful government agencies to any cannabis-related product — a sentiment that insurance companies have noticed and respected.

Even agencies with a more open stance on CBD, like the FDA, are helping to block insurance companies from covering it — with one notable exception, an anti-seizure medication called Epidiolex. Costing around $32,500 out of pocket for a year’s treatment, it was approved by the FDA in 2018, subsequently downgraded by the DEA to a Schedule 5 substance (the same non-restrictive category as prescription cough syrup), and is now covered without exception by insurers. However, it’s also blocking other CBD-derived medications from getting the same treatment, since its approval by the FDA means that any drug containing CBD would have to go through the same arduous, expensive process. So far, no other medication has been up for the challenge.

“If a product is being marketed as a drug — meaning, for example, that it’s intended to have a therapeutic effect such as treating a disease — then it’s regulated as a drug, and it generally cannot be sold without FDA approval.”

Patients seeking CBD products need to make sure they’re purchasing them from a reputable company. It is critical that you do your research and examine the authenticity of the brand.

The other obstacle to health insurance coverage for CBD oil is because it’s classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. This classification typically applies to marijuana, but laws in the U.S. state that any product containing the cannabidiol compounds found in marijuana must also fall under the classification.

So far the FDA has approved only one drug containing CBD, for a rare form of epilepsy.

CBD Oil and Health Insurance: What the Future May Hold

For this reason, consumers are advised to be cautious when buying CBD oil. Quality products can reach more than $100 a bottle, and there have been reports that some brands have advertised CBD products that had little to no actual cannabidiol compounds in the solution.

There are two primary obstacles preventing health insurance companies from offering to cover CBD oil or similar treatment options such as medicinal marijuana.

Even though there is plenty of evidence regarding the medicinal uses for CBD oil—and even though doctors are already prescribing these oils to their patients—health insurance plans do not offer to cover the costs. This brings up the question of why, especially when there are a significant number of other pharmaceutical drugs that are covered— sometimes with similarly high or even higher price tags.

While many scientific studies have backed up the claims about the benefits of CBD oil, and many people have already started to use it, the relatively high prices of CBD oil remain a concern. Many consumers opt for cheaper products only to find they yield ineffective results, as they contain dosages of the cannabidiol compound that are insufficient to produce the potential health benefits.

Research into the medical benefits of cannabis is ongoing. Cannabis is not the only or best treatment option for a wide variety of illnesses, but clinical research has shown it can benefit people suffering from certain conditions.

Cannabis is an eligible medical expense under Revenue Canada’s Medical Expense Tax Credit . So you can claim expenses related to medical cannabis on your tax return, as long as you have receipts from an approved Health Canada-licensed producer and medical authorization to back up your claim.

If you’d prefer, you can also grow it yourself or designate someone else to grow it for you. In both instances, you or your producer will need to be certified by Health Canada to comply with ACMPR.

What health conditions are eligible for medical cannabis coverage?

Currently, the coverage offered by Sun Life is only available for conditions where there’s sufficient clinical evidence to support its use:

That said, medical cannabis often contains a higher concentration of cannabidiol (CBD), which generally doesn’t produce the euphoric “high” feeling associated with taking cannabis recreationally. This “high” is produced by another chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Patients may be able to benefit from the medicinal qualities of cannabis by using a cannabis strain that has a higher CBD concentration and a lower amount of THC.

To start, visit your doctor and talk about whether medical cannabis is an option for your treatment. If your doctor decides that cannabis may help you, they can provide you with a medical authorization, in compliance with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

Before you submit a claim for medical cannabis, here are a few things you should know.